Friday, May 9, 2008

Bees, Herbs, and Mark Fulford

Last week we welcomed about 60,000 new members to the D Acres community...they are now three wonderful colonies of honeybees living in various locations around the farm! They arrived just before the new moon, which brings good energy to new endeavors (and, since these are my first bees, I'll take all the help from the universe that I can get!). The girls have settled in really well, each hive releasing their queen into the mix and beginning to build comb and bring in the nectar of what flowers are beginning to bloom here in the north country. I'm feeding them honey instead of the standard sugar-syrup that conventional beekeeping practices recommend- and what a difference it seems to make already! Looking at the comb the girls produce with the honey they are now eating compared to what they made with the sugar syrup they were eating when they arrived is so interesting- the "sugar syrup" comb is white, brittle and almost crumbly in places, while the "honey" comb is supple, strong, and beautifully golden. The last weekend in April, I attended a wonderful natural/organic beekeeping class at the Pfeiffer Center in New York- it was a fantastic weekend full of inspiration and information led by Ross Conrad of VT and Chris Harp of NY. It was a perfect start to keeping bees, as both Ross and Chris have eco-bio-logical views similar to mine, and they genuinely care about the bees. The pics above show the bees who now live at Edith's (in the "Florence") hive clustered prior to their hiving and myself (left) and Sue (right) hiving the girls in the lower garden (the "Hanna") hive. Not pictured are bees of the "Isis" hive who live in the upper/forest garden area of the farm.

I spent this past weekend at Sage Mountain herbal center in VT in the first of seven classes of Rosemary Gladstar's advanced herbal training program. We have a great group of about 30+ herbalists who will learn from a different teacher one weekend a month May-October. The classes are focused on becoming a better practicing herbalist, and include skills I hope to bring both to my teaching at D Acres (next herbal workshop- May 24th- hands on herbal medicine making!!!) and to my practice (, clients and formulating herbal preparations. Margi Flint of EarthSong Herbals (Marblehead, MA) was our teacher for the first weekend- Margi is an exemplary herbalist and teacher- as inspiring and charismatic as she is well-versed in herbal knowledge!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the D Acres crew served up a HUGE farm feast breakfast on Sunday- our biggest to date perhaps- we served up pretty much all of our sausage, greens, potatoes, and eggs, with barely a pancake left for me when I returned from herb class! The New Moon Reiki share was also well attended- it is wonderful to see the healing energy spread throughout the community here in Dorchester.

This weekend we are super psyched to have Mark Fulford join us to teach a grafting (Saturday) and composting (Sunday) workshop! Mark was here at the farm in the fall and led a great soil nutrition workshop, so we're certainly looking forward to what the weekend will bring...


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